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- Gaming PCs are the best way to play video games at the highest level, so we’ve rounded up the best ones you can buy.
- Although it’s expensive, the Corsair One i160 computer’s uncompromising performance and small form factor make it easily the best gaming PC around.
If you’re a gamer, there’s no better way to play games than with a PC. While the Xbox One and PS4 bring their own exclusive games to the table, a PC allows you to push the graphics of your games to the limit. Additionally, without the need for retail packaging or sale, most PC games end up being cheaper.
Like anything good in life, PC gaming doesn’t come without some extra work. Between knowing what parts do what and how to put the parts together, the barrier for entry into PC gaming is high. Thankfully, the number of companies now making gaming PCs has grown, allowing you to get in on the action without the hassle.
There’s nothing inherently special about a “gaming” PC. It’s still a normal computer, except it usually has faster internal components. The key concern for gaming computers is the graphics card, which is the chip that’s responsible for translating all of the data that your computer is processing into images on your screen.
Faster graphics cards allow the computer to render the complex 3D models in video games quickly, so gaming PCs usually come with a dedicated graphics chip. In order to balance the system, gaming PCs will generally have faster processors, too.
If you’re a computer newbie, fret not. I’ll do my best to guide you through this list. That said, I can’t explain what each component does and, furthermore, how that component sits in the market without multiple other articles. I’ll still give you the components, but I’ll also tell you how that translates into gaming. If you want to learn more about the components that make up a PC, go here.
With that, we can get to our list of the best gaming PC you can buy. We have five picks, each of which fill a different need, so make sure to read through all of the options to find the best one for you.
Here are the gaming PCs you can buy in 2019:
- Best gaming PC overall: Corsair One i160
- Best gaming PC with upgradability: Alienware Aurora R7
- Best gaming PC under $800: CyberPower Gamer Extreme
- Best gaming PC for small spaces: MSI Trident X
- Best gaming PC for water cooling: Maingear F131
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best gaming PC overall
Why you’ll love it: The Corsair One i160 leaves no stone unturned with the absolute best in hardware and an attractive design, to boot.
The Corsair One i160 is the first PC to truly combine powerful components and a small form factor without sacrificing thermals. At around twice the size of a gaming console and a third of the size of a mid tower gaming PC, the Corsair One is the perfect centerpiece for your living room or desk.
Given the small form factor, it’s easy to assume that the One skimped on specs, but that isn’t the case. There are two versions: the i160 and i140. Between the two, there’s a $600 price discrepancy, which, given the higher end components in the i160, is worth it.
The i160 comes outfitted with an Intel Core i9-9900K, Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti, 32GB of 2666Mhz RAM, a 480GB NVMe SSD and 2TB 2.5-inch hard drive. If all of that’s gibberish to you, here’s what you need to know: For gaming and even light content creation, the specs of the i160 are the best you can get right now. Both the graphics card and processor are the top-of-the-line chips from Intel and Nvidia, making the i160 one hell of a machine.
Furthermore, every component has a standard form factor. Many pre-built computers come with proprietary designs, making it impossible to upgrade components down the line. While the One’s crowded chassis doesn’t make upgrades especially easy, they are possible. Many of the components in the machine — including the RAM and power supply — are products from Corsair that you can buy from any tech retailer.
While cramped when trying to upgrade, Corsair’s effort to condense standard PC components into as small of a space as possible pays off. The design of the One is gorgeous, with smooth accent lighting in the front and vented side panels. The RGB LEDs can sync with Corsair’s iCue software, too, meaning you can match your rig with other Corsair peripherals.
Pros: Top of the line hardware, attractive case, RGB lighting
Buy the Corsair One i160 on Amazon for $3,599
The best gaming PC with upgradability
Why you’ll love it: Alienware’s Aurora R7 has a standard PC layout, making it a perfect entry point for those who want to upgrade their PC in the future.
While you can upgrade the Corsair One, we wouldn’t recommend digging into it unless you know what you’re doing. It’s cramped, with multiple passthrough cables and a strange layout. If you’re just diving into the world of custom PCs, the Alienware Aurora R7 is a better choice. It brings a different kind of flare to pre-built PCs, with a standard internal layout for those who want to get the lay of the land.
Like many gaming PCs, there are multiple builds available. The one we’d recommend comes with an Intel Core i7-8700K, 16GB of 2666Mhz RAM, and an overclocked Nvidia RTX 2080. You can outfit the Aurora R7 with the same specs as the Corsair One, but you’ll be paying a hefty premium.
Outside of a strange power supply mount, the Aurora R7 has a mostly standard PC layout. Swiveling the power supply out exposes the other components, including the built-in all-in-one water cooling solution and support for dual graphics cards. All of the mounts, cables, and slots are standard, too, meaning it’s easy to upgrade your graphics card, storage, or RAM down the line.
While the motherboard supports dual graphics cards, none of Alienware’s pre-built configurations come with two GPUs. It’s easy to upgrade to dual graphics cards using Alienware’s configurator, though. Considering it’s cheaper to add dual graphics cards than to buy a second graphics card off the shelf, we recommend you configure your build that way if you want two GPUs.
Many pre-built gaming PCs make it more difficult to get into the world of building your own computer, but the Aurora R7 actually makes it easier. By providing a no-nonsense layout inside an attractive chassis, Alienware allows you to understand how standard computer components work and fit into a machine.
Pros: Standard layout, solid specs, support for dual graphics cards
Cons: Dell’s customer service isn’t the best
Buy the Alienware Aurora R7 on Amazon for $1,949
The best gaming PC under $800
Why you’ll love it: On a budget, it’s hard to beat the CyberPower Gamer Xtreme VR.
Like the other options in this guide, CyberPower has a configurator that will allow you to customize the PC to your liking. However, for the price, we’re talking specifically about the Gamer Xtreme VR GXiVR8060A5 (what a mouth-full). You don’t have to worry about the model number, though — just use the Amazon link below and you can find the exact PC we’re talking about.
When budget is the main concern, it’s hard to beat CyberPower. While the specs don’t reach as high as our top two picks, CyberPower trades whatever power in loses in a simple checkout experience. You can buy the machine directly from Amazon, with two-day Prime shipping. It even comes with a keyboard and mouse, so you’ll be ready to go out of the gate.
As for specs, this PC isn’t top of the line, but it should still run most modern titles without any issues. It sports an Intel Core i5-8400 clocked at 2.8Ghz, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, a 3GB Nvidia GTX 1060, and two hard drives. There’s a 120GB SSD that stores Windows and all of your core applications, as well as a 1TB spinning hard drive for any media storage, too.
For those that don’t know the first thing about computer hardware, here’s how the specs translate: This PC can run most modern titles at full HD with medium settings. It’ll reach 60 frames per second in most games, though some more demanding titles will sit around the 40 frames per second mark.
As an introduction into PC gaming, the Gamer Xtreme VR GXiVR8060A5 is a solid choice. The build is balanced across processor, graphics card, and memory, and it comes in a case with RGB fans and a tempered glass side panel. It has built-in Wi-Fi, too, which is an important but often forgotten feature in enthusiast desktops.
Pros: Inexpensive, RGB lighting, built-in Wi-Fi
Cons: Unimpressive specs
Buy the CyberPower Gamer Xtreme VR on Amazon for $799 (originally $899.99)
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